|I featured on the advertising poster for the|
1980 Whyalla Marathon
At least I'm not as bad as 30 years ago when, once I got quite fit, I could not bring myself to pass up opportunities to win races and accept any related travel, despite carrying significant injuries. In the first half of 1980, I incurred what was initially a minor knee problem, diagnosed as a small tear in my patella tendon. A few weeks off, once I realised it was more than a passing niggle, would probably have fixed the problem. But I was on a high after running my first sub-2:20 marathon a year earlier, was very fit, and wanted to "cash in" on my heavy training investment.
|The [Euroa] Gazette, 15 April 1980|
Initially, I took anti-inflammatories to reduce the pain and enable continued training, but when this didn't do the job, I had a cortisone injection in the offending knee from my sports doctor. I was warned to train less in the days following the injection, but my definition of "less" involved 120 kilometres of running, including a 15km race, in the ensuing five days. It was less than I had been doing, but probably not "less" by the doctor's definition, and I paid the price.
|Extracts from my 1980 Training Diary|
Despite two weeks of rest after Intervarsity, my knee wasn't improving and I ended up having surgery to stitch my patella tendon back together and clean out all of the scar tissue.
It was another couple of months before I could begin running seriously again, which in retrospect, seems a fast recovery. But the reality was that I lost more than six months of my prime running years because of this injury, instead of six weeks if I had managed it conservatively. Of course, I had some wins and great experiences during this period, but it doesn't compare to what I might have achieved if I had heeded the early indicators of knee trouble and had some time off.